Vasudhaa Vision

How Are Singing Bowls Used?

Some people use the relaxing tone of a singing bowl to signal the start or end of a meditation  session.
• Singing bowls are commonly used in Western yoga classes to transition between the different elements of a  program.
• In energy healing, the vibrations of a singing bowl are thought to carry restorative powers and are used to aid the Chakra alignment.
• Sometimes, a bowl is even placed directly on a person’s body, allowing the vibration to act as a massage, helping to relax strained or tense muscles.
• The sustained tone of a singing bowl can be used as a guided meditation device, alongside  traditional chanting or prayer rituals. Focusing deeply on the sustained tone is thought to be another form of meditation, similar to a mantra in transcendental meditation, or the effect of traditional Buddhist chanting.  Of course, this list barely scratches the surface of the many different ways in which people  use singing bowls today.

How Do You Play A Singing Bowl?

There are many different methods for producing sound from a singing bowl.

However, to truly practice with a singing bowl, it’s important to realize that playing the bowl is only half of the practice! Listening is the other half, and it’s equally important.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to playing a singing bowl, recommended for beginners  without much experience:

1. Sit in a comfortable spot. Some people might prefer a meditation cushion on the floor,  but a chair will work just as well. Sit wherever you are comfortable!
2. Before playing your singing bowl, start by focusing on your breath for a few moments.  Similar to a vipassana meditation practice, focusing on the breath helps to calm the  everyday noise of the mind. When playing a singing bowl, just play the singing bowl.
3. Gently strike the outside of the bowl with the soft end of the wooden mallet.
4. Listen. Truly listen to the tone produced by striking the outside of the meditation bowl. Try  to focus on each overtone and listen through the entire sustain until the tone completely dies down.  This might take 30 seconds. Patience is key!
5. Now, strike the bowl gently again with the soft end of the mallet. This time, after 2 or 3 seconds, turn the mallet over, and bring the wooden end to outside of the rim. Gently rub  the outside of the bowl with the wooden end of the mallet in a slow, circular fashion. It will  probably take some practice to get used to the amount of pressure required, but as you rub  the outside rim, you should hear the bowl slowly start to “sing”. The bowl will produce a  slow, sustaining tone that will gradually increase in volume as you continue to move the striker.
6. Listen! Focus on the sound that is produced by rubbing the outside of the bowl. Listen to how the overtones change while rubbing the bowl versus striking the bowl. Try to notice the  subtleties in the sound produced by each end of the striker. If you feel your mind start to  wander, calmly come back to the sound of the singing bowl. That is the practice!
7. You might ask yourself: Where does the striker end? Where does the bowl begin? Who  is hearing the sound of the singing bowl?
8. Try playing the meditation bowl again, but this time, instead of striking the bowl with the  mallet first, simply start by rubbing the outside of the top edge of the bowl. Try using both the wooden end of the striker and the soft end. It’s possible to make it sing with either, and each material produces a distinctive sound! You might have to experiment with different levels of pressure depending on which end you use. Sometimes, as the bowl starts to vibrate and “sing”, it’s easy to lose contact with the rim, interrupting the sound. It simply takes practice to get the feel just right and sustain the singing overtone.
9. Most importantly:  listen! Each time you play the bowl, remember to listen. It’s not about  achieving the perfect sound. It’s about hearing each note. It’s about being present and focusing just on the sound as it is being played. It’s neither good nor bad. It is just playing a singing bowl , is really no different than sitting on the cushion to meditate or chanting with a group at a temple. The point is to listen. Your mind will wander, and that’s  okay. When you notice, come back and listen once more. Whatever path you happen to be on, focusing on the sound of the singing bowl is just another way to practice.  All of this is to say, there’s no one right way to play a singing bowl. Experiment and experience it.

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